US Congress Partisan & Ideological Makeup

matthew's picture

If you have a few minutes and are interested in an unbiased graphic of political trends in the House and Senate, check this out. It shows the shifts in power based exclusively on economic voting bloc patterns of the House and Senate over time. There are some fascinating patterns here, especially if you click the "large" graphic and pan around...

* The near-complete complete collapse of the Center Right in the House and voting dominance of the Far Right, starting around 1984 and continuing today. The last time we saw such an evisceration of the Center Right was under William McKinley at the start of the 20th century, but even then a few holdouts remained. Today, the only Center Right congressmen in the House are Democrats.
* Voting Far Right seems to be a winning strategy for Republicans in the House for the past thirty years. While I often disagree with the Far Right ideology -- I'm very much a Centrist -- it's hard to argue with the success of the takeover.
* It's hard to pick out the Policy Pendulum from this graph, but it looks like House voting patterns swung from Center Right to Center Left in 1930-1940, 1956-1966, 1974-1993, and 2006-2008.
* Joe Biden's trend from Far Left to Centrist during a long Senate career.
* Newt Gingrich's voting record looks very much like that of Gerald Ford.
* That centrist candidates really tend to get their teeth kicked in in swing states; one is much safer on the Far Right or Far Left if the goal of the politician is longevity.
* Senators Hatch and Byrd have one thing in common: they both kept their Senate seats far, far too long. I wonder if they'll both die in office, too?

http://xkcd.com/1127/
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